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2021 Scholarships

Congratulations Awardees! 

TEF awarded 116 scholarships to our best and brightest Naval Aviation legacy students.


Brief from the Executive Director

Spring 2021

Aloha, Tailhookers,

I open these quarterly re‐marks by taking a moment to summarize the generous support you provided to the Tailhook Educational Foundation (TEF) throughout 2020.


It was an unpredictable year for all of us. Despite the challenges the year presented, your annual contributions to TEF surpassed those of 2019 by 15 percent and your end of year appeal donations by 10 percent. This level of loyal generosity in such unusual circumstances inspired all of us at Tailhook, particularly TEF. Please accept our unequivocal and sincere appreciation for your continued support to our foundation and more importantly, to Naval Aviation children and grandchildren.

Each year our scholarship application window is open from 15 December through 1 March. Executive Assistant Beth Rollins is now sorting and filing documentation from more than 500 applications into individual student‐ applicant folders for our scholarship committee’s review.

This year we added a new type of scholarship to our existing High School Senior, College and Enlisted scholarships—the Gold Star scholarship. This is specifically for those Naval Aviation legacy students who lost their serving father or mother while the parent was on active duty. If you have any questions about our Gold Star scholarships for upcoming years please do not hesitate to call our headquarters (858‐689‐9223) and ask to speak with a TEF representative. You may also email Beth or me at or with any inquiries.

Once the application folders are prepared for review, our scholarship committee will read and grade the applications. This grading process is strictly merit‐based and takes several weeks. In late May, TEF notifies all students who applied if they were selected. In June, based on their ranking, we assign the more than 100 awardees to a specific scholarship and send them a letter describing that program and the associated financial value of their grant. TEF issues the grant checks to each student‐ awardee through their school’s bursar office by the first week in August. Our annual scholarship timeline is described in more detail on the TEF homepage just below the Scholarship Application section:



TEF welcomes three new officers joining the board of directors (BoD) and officers team this year. CAPTs Chris “Bolter” Bolt, USN(Ret), Bob “Rooter” Rutherford, USN(Ret) and LCDR Erin Nealy, USN(Ret) joined our lineup in January. They will assist the scholarship committee as well as work with the Tailhook Association BoD and officers to operationalize our Tailhook Strategic Plan.

TEF deeply appreciates the resolute, generous support of our industry sponsors, organizational partners and specifically our individual benefactors. Your contributions remain essential in ensuring that TEF maintains and grows our scholarship funds to award 100 or more grants each year and increase the value of each scholarship for these future leaders.

Mahalos & 2021 safe and healthy blessings to you all,

CAPT Rodger Welch, USN(Ret)  

Executive Director
Tailhook Educational Foundation

About The TEF

The Tailhook Educational Foundation (TEF) is a charitable nonprofit California corporation created in February 1992. The Foundation's charter is "to educate the nation's public with regard to the history and present day activities of the United States Navy carrier aviation and its importance to our country's national security."


The main activities of the Foundation are:

To support the Tailhook Association

To distribute The Hook magazine to schools throughout the nation at no cost to the schools

To provide scholarships to qualified applicants

To support U.S Navy and Naval Aviation leadership

TEF Scholarships

TEF’s average scholarship amount is greater than $3,000 per grant per year. TEF’s top grant is awarded at $15,000.


Funding TEF scholarships is achieved either annually or perennially.

Perennial Scholarships

​A perennial scholarship is funded by providing TEF with at least $60,000 either in a lump-sum donation, or using a payment over time option*.

​A $60,000 TEF Scholarship portfolio yields a $3,000 grant for your named scholarship per year in perpetuity*.

Sponsors funding perennial scholarships can add funds to their portfolio whenever they chose, donating any amount they chose.​ Each donation to an existing perennial scholarship portfolio increases the annual grant yield for that scholarship from that year on.

​Several of TEF’s original perennial scholarship portfolios now exceed $100,000, all yielding at least $5,000 in an annual grant.

Annual Pass-through scholarships

An annual or “pass-through” scholarship is funded by providing TEF a payment of $3,000 or more each year to sponsor your named scholarship that year.

Pass through scholarship donations can also be for more than $3,000, and they can change each year by donating more than $3,000. 

TEF’s current annual scholarships average more than $3,000 with our top grant awarded at $15,000.


TEF awards over 100 scholarships annually averaging more than $3,000 per grant with our top grant awarded at $15,000.

A number of our annual scholarships are awarded to students pursuing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) curriculum. All TEF grants assist Naval Aviation legacy undergraduate students obtain a higher education.

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Scholarship Eligibility

To qualify for a Tailhook Educational Foundation scholarship, an individual must graduate from high school and be the natural, step, or adopted child or grandchild of a current or former (U.S. Navy / U.S. Marine Corps / U.S. Coast Guard) Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Officer, or Naval Aircrewman. Also eligible are individuals or children/grandchildren of individuals who are serving or have served on board a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier. Eligible applicants must also be accepted for undergraduate enrollment at an accredited college. 

Applications are now closed

Applications are available on 15 December and due back at TEF headquarters by 01 March each year.

Scholarship Timeline